Abdullah Alawlagy, father of 11 | Globalization | DW | 31.05.2012
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Abdullah Alawlagy, father of 11

"What a governmental position offers in terms of financial rewards doesn't cover my family's expenses."

Abdullah Alawlagy, who holds a high school diploma, has been working in a governmental office for a number of years. He gets a salary of about 41,000 Yemeni ryals a month, roughly $190. Alawlagy supports a family of 11 children and his wife. They live in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, sharing a 2-room apartment and one toilet with another family. Despite the hardships the father of 11 faces, he works hard to ensure that his children go to school as he did. The eldest is now at university.

"What a governmental position offers in terms of financial rewards doesn't cover my family's expenses for food - let alone other family related expenses like education, transportation, clothing and medication," says Abdullah. He tries to make ends meet and occasionally receives financial help from friends and relatives.

Most people in Yemen live in very difficult and complicated living conditions. Governmental statistics say that the unemployment rate is around 40 percent, while reports from international humanitarian organizations state that nearly half of the population in Yemen lack adequate amounts of food.

"Yemen is experiencing a very harsh hunger crisis since the average of malnutrition cases in some areas reach the same of those in some areas of Somalia," Yemen Oxfam director, Coliet Veyron, said.

The World Bank estimates that some seven and a half million people in Yemen don't get enough food. Oxfam puts that number at up to 10 million people. Five million – a quarter of the country's population – are in need of urgent help.

The recent political crisis, which resulted in price hikes, has increased the problem. Even those who were successful in keeping their jobs do not get enough money to cover their living costs.

Author: Saeed Alsoufi / hw

Editor: Anke Rasper